Thursday, October 30, 2014

Student Feature - Global Read Aloud at Highfalls

For this week's Student Feature, I would like to showcase a middle school student from Highfalls in Robbins, NC.  Isaiah is a sixth grade student in Mrs. Sarah Holden’s class.  Isaiah’s class has been taking part in the Global Read Aloud and has connected with classrooms in Ecuador and Canada to collaborate about a book, The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm.  Below you can read Isaiah’s account of his experience during this collaborative opportunity.  Isaiah will be speaking about his experiences during this class project at the upcoming Board of Education meeting on November 10.

“My 6th grade class has been reading The 14th Goldfish as part of the Global Read Aloud.  We have connected with a 7th grade class from Ecuador in many different ways.  This has been an amazing experience for me.
Global Read Aloud is a way to take a book and use it to connect students with other students from around the world.  In doing this it helps us to interact with kids that we would have never met without this experience.  Through this we can learn about new cultures in ways that we have never done before.
During this experience, my class has connected in many different ways with a 7th grade class from Ecuador.  To begin with, we did a Mystery Skype with them.  We asked them questions and tried to figure out where they were from.  They also asked us questions.  After a few guesses they figured out that we were from North Carolina first.  Then we guessed a few different places, but we finally figured out that they were from Ecuador.   Then we connected with the same class on Edmodo.  We typed a little bit about ourselves and shared this with them and they did the same.  We were able to respond back to the students.  As a class, on Twitter, we answered questions about The 14th Goldfish and shared pictures about our experience.  Finally on Kidblog Mrs. Holden asked us different questions and we answered them.
Before we Skyped I was a little nervous because I never Skyped before.  But when we did it, it was a fun, interesting, and exciting experience.  It was fun to connect with people from another place in the world and to learn things about them .  It was cool that there was a girl in the class that was from North Carolina. My overall experience has been exciting because it is fun to connect with people from other places.  I can’t wait to see what we do next!”       - Isaiah, Highfalls Elementary 6th Grade

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Digital School News at Crain's Creek Middle

Our Crain's Creek News Programs always start out with one of the most popular songs.  Students love to request the “Weekly News Song.”  We constructed our own green screen with bulletin board paper.  It is located in Miss Teeter's 8th Grade ELA Classroom.  Her yearbook class plays a huge roll in our digital news program.  

We also keep our school up to speed on the latest sports highlights.  We have recently incorporated academic highlights for the week, as well as book recommendations and student features.

Every news program includes at least one commercial either created by me, Mrs. Reynolds, or the students.  It's the best advertising around!

We enjoy interviewing both staff and students.  The CCMS News Team also covers music and the arts.  

Our goal is to eventually connect with other middle schools around the country and world to share and compare our programs.  

If you are interested in viewing archived or future episodes, please visit my website: and click on the Crain's Creek Digital News Link.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Teacher Feature - Jasmine Covington

For this "Teacher Feature", I would like to highlight North Moore High School Social Studies Teacher, Jasmine Covington.  Ms. Covington is a second year teacher that is also a graduate of North Moore High School.  After attending my weekly "Tech Thursday" sessions, I can always count on Ms. Covington to take advantage of the cool, digital tool of the week I present the staff. 


From the image above, Jasmine is a true Leader when it comes to using technology in her classroom.  She has incorporated new tools like Nearpod, Kahoot and Zaption in her AP Geography class.  She has expressed that her students remain engaged throughout the class period.  This type of engagement boosts student learning and student morale in her classroom.  I am proud of Jasmine and I know that she will continue to be a leader of technology implementation in the classroom at North Moore High School.  

Jasmine notes, "I absolutely love utilizing technology in the 21st century classroom!  Attending Tech Thursday's have taught me various ways to bring history alive using student Chromebooks.  I thank Mr. Callahan for educating North Moore High School teachers on how to incorporate fun and technological activities in lesson plans."

Tyler Callahan
Digital Integration Facilitator

Teacher Feature - TJ Martin and Holly Blackmon

For this "Teacher Feature" I would like to highlight TJ Martin and Holly Blackmon.  These two teachers are a part of a special Blended Learning classroom in Moore County.  TJ Martin is a math and science teacher at Crain's Creek Middle School.  Holly Blackmon is the only middle school teacher at the Community Learning Center at Pinckney who specializes in English and Social Studies.  Mr. Martin and Mrs. Blackmon collaborate on a daily basis to effectively plan engaging lessons for the Blended Learning classroom.

As the only middle school teacher at the CLC, principal Shaun Krencicki came up with an awesome idea to live stream TJ Martin's math and science lessons into Holly's classroom using Google Hangouts.  When the program first began, we had some bumps in the road but now things seem to be running very smoothly.  The students really enjoy the lessons through Google Hangouts and their level of engagement is through the roof at CLC.

I recently presented the Blended Learning classroom to the Moore County Board of Education with a short video (below).

This type of learning has been a success thus far and we will continue to find ways to use the technology of Moore County Schools to reach learning styles of all our students.

Tyler Callahan
Digital Integration Facilitator

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Featuring Westmoore Elementary's Technology Club


 This year one of my goals was to increase students' global connections, while implementing Common Core in the classroom. Students need to have a voice when it comes to their education and need to be awarded the opportunity to collaborate with others. KidBlog is the perfect platform for beginning bloggers to share and gather ideas. 
   In this month's student feature, I decided to share what our Technology Club at Westmoore Elementary has started. In addition to exploring apps, devices, and concepts in technology, we will be blogging on a bi-weekly basis. Students in the club range from grades 6-8, and have no previous experience with blogging. 
   At our first meeting, students were able to make their first entry on KidBlog, and share a little about themselves. I have never seen so much excitement when asked to complete a writing assignment/entry. Students were eager to share their writing with each other, and other students around the world. 
   Below is a link to our Technology Club blog, and we are eager to hear others responses to our posts. We have only met one time, so currently our blog is still in its beginning stages. I am excited to explore with our Technology Club and share their wonderful ideas and creations.

Check back with us frequently to see what we are learning!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Front Row - The Perfect Math Tool for a Blended Learning K-8 Classroom

One of the things that I love about my job is that I am able to meet so many great educators who are using some amazing resources in their classrooms. A few weeks ago, I was working at Southern Pines Primary and a second grade teacher shared what she was going to use for differentiated math instruction. So, like many of the digital tools that I've discovered, I learned about Front Row through word of mouth and the more I researched it, the more I realized that this is a perfect tool for adaptive, common core aligned math practice on the Chromebook and the iPad.

Here's how to get started:

Here's how your students will get started:

Sign up today and get started using Front Row for differentiated math instruction!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Powerful, Chromebook-Approved Creation!

The critical question when giving digital devices to students is always "what do we want kids to do with them?"  In Moore County Schools, our answer to this question is that we want students to use their Chromebooks to create dynamic multimedia products that showcase their learning.  

To this end, our outstanding Digital Integration Facilitator (DIF) team worked very hard to create the excellent resource below.  We would like to share this out to any teacher, student, parent, administrator, or anyone else that would like to use Chromebooks to create dynamic work products!

Screenshot of "I Want to Create" Site

As we rolled out 1:1 with Chromebooks last year, teachers and students told us a few things we could do to help support them:

  • Don't throw a hundred tools at us that all do the same thing- tell us the one you recommend most :  We did this on each page of our "I Want to Create" site by providing a featured tool at the top and other tools linked at the bottom of each page.
  • Make sure all the tools provided work on our Chromebooks:  We tested each thoroughly on our student Chromebooks.
  • Provide an overview of the tool and also some easy ways to get started: We did this through embedded tutorial videos on each page
  • Give us a printable cheat sheet we can print out if we need extra help while working through a tool:  We did this on each and every tool page
  • Tell us which tools are good for beginner, moderately skilled, and advanced skilled learners:  We did this by organizing all the tools in exactly this manner, to allow folks to personalize their own learning.

We hope this resource can be helpful to any other educators out there that have Chromebooks in their classrooms and we look forward to seeing how this site evolves and grows throughout the next few years!

-Steve Johnson